Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

In a prison hidden in the woods of Berlin, N.H., a group of 20 players are ready to compete for a chess tournament. They will sit in a windowless room engaged in a battle of the mind every Wednesday for five weeks — and one will be crowned the best player.

There are no prizes or trophies, merely a paper certificate for the winner, but for the inmates in this relatively isolated facility, the championship is a big deal.

As the world celebrates one hundred years of dadaism, it is worth looking at how this "anti-art" art movement that started in a café in Zurich during World War I resulted in an iconic artwork involving that most humble object of tableware: the teacup.

In 1936, a 23-year-old Swiss artist named Meret Oppenheim bought a teacup, saucer and spoon from a department store in Paris and wrapped them in the cream-and-tan pelt of a Chinese gazelle. Her hirsute little offering became a defining artifact of surrealism — the art movement that sprang from dadaism's flamboyant entrails.

Jib photo, via Flickr

You couldn't blame sports anchor and Milwaukee area native Trenni Kusnierek for being a bit apprehensive about speaking publicly on her struggles with depression and anxiety. After all, the sports world in which she plies her trade thrives on an image of strength. Kusnierek worried about what she might hear from her new bosses at Comcast SportsNet New England. Or her viewers. Or the athletes she covered.

When the video dropped on Saturday, we galvanized. Cleared our schedules, watched on repeat till our eyes turned red. Got into screaming matches with loved ones about what kind of hot sauce belongs in a #swagbag. Even made preemptive Valentine's Day reservations at Red Lobster, because you never know.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Erika Christakis' new book, The Importance of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word:

Play.

The best thing Luke Skywalker had going for him in the original trilogy was that he never had to worry about who was going to feed the war orphans left behind by the rebellion, or rebuild trashed moisture farms. No, if you're Luke, all you gotta do is show up every once in a while, blow up a Death Star or have a lightsaber duel with your weird dad. He got to be the clean and bright hero, never having to face the ugly realities of upsetting a massive bureaucracy, destroying vital infrastructure and all the other petty inconveniences that come with a war.

Sunday night's Super Bowl landed a huge TV audience for its battle between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, which the Broncos took 24-10. While a football game is a football game, the Super Bowl is also a huge pop culture event, from the halftime show to the buildup and the barrage of advertising. We sat down the Monday morning after to take apart the highs, the lows, and the Beyonce of it all.

In 1999, Jhumpa Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for her very first book, Interpreter of Maladies. Her 2003 novel, Namesake, was turned into a movie, and she went on to publish Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland. But Lahiri wasn't satisfied.

"I've always been searching to arrive at a certain voice that will probably elude me forever," she tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

So Lahiri is trying something new — very new. She wrote her new memoir, In Other Words, in Italian.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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